September 2006

In the Incarnation of Christ, God becoming man,we have, as it were, a final statement for all time. It means that forever human life has been accepted into the Divine Life, therefore it has a dignity which commands us to treat it with respect and protect it at every level – from the womb until it naturally runs its course in death.

On a daily basis we are made aware on the television news bulletins from throughout the world at the exact opposite of this. And not just on TV.Many of us in our work come across the victims of violence, prejudice and hatred. I have seen personally over the last month in our drop-in young people who have been beaten up and one recently almost fatally stabbed.

It’s bad enough trying to understand that all kinds of people do all kinds of violence, but the day to day mindless street violence and crime,which often kills, is even more difficult to get one’s head round.

Pope John Paul 11 wrote, reflecting yet again on whether a just war can really be justified said, speaking on the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ ‘ ….the commandments do not simply establish minimal standards but are a path involving a moral and spiritual journey towards perfection, at the heart of which is love’.

I guess we can all try and make our views known on the wider world stage about for example the war in Iraq, but sometimes I feel quite powerless on such a large stage. But there are smaller stages that many of us are on and it’s here that we might be able to make a difference. But even the small stage can be very frightening. If any of you saw the CCT footage recently of the totally unprovoked attack on two university students, one of whom was killed with just one punch, then you’ll know what I mean. Or the recent case in England of the young daughter of a millionaire who kept a ‘murder diary’ killing an elderly lady for money, as an experiment, before she intended to continue on this murderous career, is chilling.

When political leaders advise the clergy to stay out of politics, I really wonder where they are coming from.More so when the leader of the Conservative party made such a risible comment about hoodies – it’s alright suggesting that ‘we hug a hoodie’when you live in an area where there are none, but when faced with large and threatening groups, David Campbell is more than a little out of touch with his advice. Let’s get real and honest, not gullible and soft.

As Harold Pinter said in a recent television interview ‘What happens from watching your child playing with his toys and being carefree and happy, to becoming a monster?’

What is happening? How do we try to stop it and build bridges between the theories of both church and state and what is really happening everyday on our streets in our towns all over the country?

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